Consciously Breathing to Reduce Stress

Author : Elizabeth Huston789
Publish Date : 2021-04-19 07:40:43
Consciously Breathing to Reduce Stress

When we are stressed we tend to breath faster, more shallowly and using our upper chest rather than allowing the diaphragm to expand, drawing the air deep into the lungs.

Having spent many years of my early life as a Physiotherapist specialising in Respiratory care, I have seen the devastating the effects hyperventilating can have on people's lives, especially when it leads on to panic attacks. The blood in surrounding our lungs easily absorbs all the oxygen in the airways, however shallowly you breathe (unless you are visiting somewhere at high altitude), so it is not the lack of oxygen that causes hyperventilation in otherwise healthy individuals, but stress. In fact the physical symptoms of hyperventilation are widespread and overlap with many symptoms of Stress Illness.

The symptoms are caused by the pH changes in the blood due to too much carbon dioxide being blown off during expiration. These changes affect the whole body including the nervous system and when severe can cause symptoms such as; dizziness, pins and needles, pain, nausea, muscle spasms etc.

It would be worthwhile observing how you breathe every now and again, especially when you are feeling stressed.
o Is your breathing rapid and shallow?
o Are you tending to use the upper part of your chest to breath and are your shoulders feeling tense?
o Check what you breathing rate is. Generally we would breath between 12 - 14 times when relaxed.

Without getting too technical, slowing your breath rate down and breathing through your nose will help you calm your breathing and reduce the amount or air being shifted in and out. This alone will really help if hyperventilation is fueling your stress or any symptoms you already have.

If you want to learn how to breathe in a more natural way, then get a book and lie down on your back! Put the book on your tummy and as you breathe in allow your tummy to rise up as your diaphragm contracts down towards your tummy to draw air into your lungs. You will know whether you are breathing naturally if the book rises and falls as you breathe in and out. Our tendency when we are stressed is to breathe apically (i.e. in our upper chest and lifting our shoulders) so this is a good way to learn and retrain our breathing pattern.

Once you are able to do this lying down, practice doing it in sitting and standing. All the time you should aim to breathe in as relaxed as fashion as possible and soon it will become natural to you. Once you have it sussed, just check in every now and again to see how you are breathing.

Consciously breathing calmly and shallowly can help you deal with things you might be feeling anxious about. Imagining a candle flame deep inside you can help as you try to stop any breath from causing it to flutter.

Example:
I used to sing with Huddersfield Choral Society and many years ago I was due for my re-audition to be able to remain in the choir. I used to love singing in and amongst 200 hundred people, but the auditions are in front of a panel of people, so I was feeling very anxious.

Before I was due to go for my audition I realised I was yawning and sighing, both of which are signs of hyperventilation as we sneakily try to take more air in. I reprimanded myself because I used to treat hyperventilation and I decided to 'walk the talk' and do what I advised my patients. It was a 10 minute drive to reach the venue and therefore during that time I closed my mouth (you can't get as much air through your nose) and breathed as slowly and calmly as I could.

In fact I just focussed on the breath going in and out through the tip of my nose as shallowly as possible and in this way I became incredibly calm. Part of the audition was to sing scales going higher and higher and I sang higher and with more ease than I had ever done before.

Georgina Oldfield MCSP Chartered Physiotherapist & Pain Specialist

Unfortunately chronic pain usually develops due to misdiagnosis because of the widespread belief that pain must have a physical cause. My work helps people recognise just how inextricably linked the mind and body are and how hidden stresses not only affect pain, but can cause debilitating and long term pain and other chronic conditions. Once this concept is recognised, understood and worked with, recovery is possible because Stress Illness is fully reversible.

It is said that stress is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we deal with it. My work is based on helping people in pain resolve their pain by learning how to deal with external stress (past and present) as well as moderating any self-induced inner stress.

Understanding and accepting a psychophysiological cause is necessary to fully recover but my articles provide helpful tools to effectively help people either prevent or resolve pain, or other persistent health conditions.
When we are stressed we tend to breath faster, more shallowly and using our upper chest rather than allowing the diaphragm to expand, drawing the air deep into the lungs.

 

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Having spent many years of my early life as a Physiotherapist specialising in Respiratory care, I have seen the devastating the effects hyperventilating can have on people's lives, especially when it leads on to panic attacks. The blood in surrounding our lungs easily absorbs all the oxygen in the airways, however shallowly you breathe (unless you are visiting somewhere at high altitude), so it is not the lack of oxygen that causes hyperventilation in otherwise healthy individuals, but stress. In fact the physical symptoms of hyperventilation are widespread and overlap with many symptoms of Stress Illness.

The symptoms are caused by the pH changes in the blood due to too much carbon dioxide being blown off during expiration. These changes affect the whole body including the nervous system and when severe can cause symptoms such as; dizziness, pins and needles, pain, nausea, muscle spasms etc.

It would be worthwhile observing how you breathe every now and again, especially when you are feeling stressed.
o Is your breathing rapid and shallow?
o Are you tending to use the upper part of your chest to breath and are your shoulders feeling tense?
o Check what you breathing rate is. Generally we would breath between 12 - 14 times when relaxed.

Without getting too technical, slowing your breath rate down and breathing through your nose will help you calm your breathing and reduce the amount or air being shifted in and out. This alone will really help if hyperventilation is fueling your stress or any symptoms you already have.

If you want to learn how to breathe in a more natural way, then get a book and lie down on your back! Put the book on your tummy and as you breathe in allow your tummy to rise up as your diaphragm contracts down towards your tummy to draw air into your lungs. You will know whether you are breathing naturally if the book rises and falls as you breathe in and out. Our tendency when we are stressed is to breathe apically (i.e. in our upper chest and lifting our shoulders) so this is a good way to learn and retrain our breathing pattern.

Once you are able to do this lying down, practice doing it in sitting and standing. All the time you should aim to breathe in as relaxed as fashion as possible and soon it will become natural to you. Once you have it sussed, just check in every now and again to see how you are breathing.

Consciously breathing calmly and shallowly can help you deal with things you might be feeling anxious about. Imagining a candle flame deep inside you can help as you try to stop any breath from causing it to flutter.

Example:
I used to sing with Huddersfield Choral Society and many years ago I was due for my re-audition to be able to remain in the choir. I used to love singing in and amongst 200 hundred people, but the auditions are in front of a panel of people, so I was feeling very anxious.

Before I was due to go for my audition I realised I was yawning and sighing, both of which are signs of hyperventilation as we sneakily try to take more air in. I reprimanded myself because I used to treat hyperventilation and I decided to 'walk the talk' and do what I advised my patients. It was a 10 minute drive to reach the venue and therefore during that time I closed my mouth (you can't get as much air through your nose) and breathed as slowly and calmly as I could.

In fact I just focussed on the breath going in and out through the tip of my nose as shallowly as possible and in this way I became incredibly calm. Part of the audition was to sing scales going higher and higher and I sang higher and with more ease than I had ever done before.

Georgina Oldfield MCSP Chartered Physiotherapist & Pain Specialist

Unfortunately chronic pain usually develops due to misdiagnosis because of the widespread belief that pain must have a physical cause. My work helps people recognise just how inextricably linked the mind and body are and how hidden stresses not only affect pain, but can cause debilitating and long term pain and other chronic conditions. Once this concept is recognised, understood and worked with, recovery is possible because Stress Illness is fully reversible.

It is said that stress is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we deal with it. My work is based on helping people in pain resolve their pain by learning how to deal with external stress (past and present) as well as moderating any self-induced inner stress.

Understanding and accepting a psychophysiological cause is necessary to fully recover but my articles provide helpful tools to effectively help people either prevent or resolve pain, or other persistent health conditions.



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